A hacker gang known to be behind a “colossal” ransomware attack has made an outrageous offer: They demanded $70m (£50.5m) but this time not in cash but in Bitcoin.
This is in exchange for the return of “universal decryptor” it claims will unlock files of all victims.
The REvil as they are being called also revealed that their malware which has US IT firm, Kaseya as its main victim has affected one million ‘systems”
Though the 1 million mark claim hasn’t been verified and total number of victims still unaccounted for, Kaseya has revealed that no fewer than 40 of its customers had been affected.
Kayesa is not the only victim here: other firms and brands are affected too. According to Local media reports, 500 Coop super markets and 11 schools in New Zealand. Also, two Dutch IT firms have also fallen victim of this ‘colossal’ hack.
The list seems endless, as yesterday Huntress Labs, a cyber-security firm disclosed to have in its purview an estimation of 200 firms has been hit too.
Findings revealed the REvil gang had the main objective of hacking into Kaseya’s network by spreading the malware into its corporate network but fortunately Kaseya were able to curtail a more deadlier attack because it provides software used in managing service providers, firms which they too outsource IT services to other companies under them.
The impact would have been more devastating if all supply chains under Kaseya were infected.
Kaseya Chief Executive Officer, Fred Voccola seem to play down the impact of the attack when he told the Associated Press that the number of victims affected are probably not as much as feared, like thousands who are majorly small organisations like libraries and dental offices.
But this appears like a face-saving approach with many insisting that was his own personal opinion as the hack spirals into larger numbers, with IT teams from all over the world antagonizing his stand.
It’s not all bleak though as cyber-security firms all over the world are aligning to reduce this malware attack, with the attendant results been quite heartwarming.
It has also been revealed that a secret digital doorway in the Kaseya system, which gave a leeway for the REvil hackers into the database was said to have been revealed even before the attack.
Researchers from the Dutch Institute for Vulnerability Disclosure were able to discover the problem and were helping Kaseya plug the hole long before the hackers found it.
What can we make of the scenario?
It could be likened to be a case between good hackers trying their best possible to stop the bad hackers from getting in.
Victor Gevers from the institute said aptly described it when he said:
“Unfortunately, we were beaten by REvil in the final sprint.”
But the criminals came all prepared. They are persistent, determined and very skilled. Despite all efforts by cyberspace security all over the world to stop their criminal activities, it seems the war is being lost against ransomware.
This case shows how skilled, persistent and determined these criminals are, and that in spite of all the efforts of the cyber-security world, we are losing the race against ransomware.
Prof Ciaran Martin, founder of the National Cyber Security Centre, told Radio 4’s Today’s programme that “The scale and sophistication of this global crime is rare, if not unprecedented,”